The void is not so much important for what it is, but what it ‘could be’ or ‘has been’. It is a place that is of course made up. There is no void, other than the void that we make. The way we talk about the void doesn't so much reveal the void, but the secret history of our desires. A void is a large empty space. It has been variously located, in space, the Internet, the deep sea and now lichen. The function of a large empty space, is of course to fill it up. To make it whole. When we observe a void, we are at once affirmed of our own finiteness, but also of the incompleteness that we know to reside somewhere in our bodies. In this way the void is intrinsically linked with the gaze of the other. The void then is always watching. Be it space, the internet, lichen, these are cultural fantasies, that allow the individual a small snatch of meaning. The void has almost no relationship to truth, it instead consists entirely of the imaginary and symbolic order. Imaginary, in that we project our fantasies, our desires onto the void, but symbolic in the awareness the void gives us of existing in an arena of looking, where the image is the subjected formation of the self. Institutions such as the internet, illustrate this dichotomy. On the internet, we are both free to project our desires onto screens, onto surfaces, but as Tung-Hui Hu claims, we are free to do so, only so long as we are “embedded within a matrix of surveillance”.
The void is both absence and presence. There is nothing in the void, except for reflections of ourselves, but then what is more mysterious than ourselves?
The void is not so much about large cavernous spaces, as much as it is about the affirmation of our own existence. We are going to die, and this is affirmed by the void.
The void is a tool for conceptualising the other, it also however allows us to conceptualise ourselves, the kinds of voids that we erect and maintain, inform the paradigm of being human. Thus the general mystery, and sometimes danger of the void.